Bloomsbury to sell Whitaker’s Almanack

Bloomsbury to sell Whitaker’s Almanack

Bloomsbury is selling reference guide Whitaker’s assets, including the current edition, the online database, and backlist editions dating back to 1869.

Whitaker’s Almanack, which costs around £100, is described by the publisher as “the ultimate single-volume reference book,” boasting “a treasure trove of facts and figures about today’s ever-changing world — from detailed information on the UK monarchy, government departments, health and education systems to extensive and authoritative data on every country in the world”.

Now Bloomsbury is selling Whitaker’s assets, such as the current edition, the online database, and backlist editions going back to 1869 after owning it for 17 years. The publisher said that Whitaker’s Almanack provides “an excellent investment opportunity for the buyer interested in preserving this historic publication and presenting definitive answers to questions in an era of ‘fake news’”. It is compiled by an in-house editorial team of six, named on its website, while specialist contributors are also consulted. It is not yet known how the sale will affect the editorial team.

“For over 150 years, Whitaker’s Almanack has been one of the world’s most comprehensive, trusted reference works,” Bloomsbury said in its statement announcing the intention to sell. “A commercial success right from the outset, Whitaker’s has been buried in a time capsule under Cleopatra’s Needle [in 1878], has featured in works by Ian Fleming, W. Somerset Maugham, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Virginia Woolf, and – most importantly – has provided countless readers with reliable, up-to-date and unbiased information on all aspects of British society.

“This national treasure continues to inform and delight readers and subscribers alike with a broad range of subjects including government listings (national and local), industry accounts, country profiles, the royal family and the nobility, expert topical reviews, listings of trade, professional and sports bodies, events, religious festivals and much, much more.”  

Whitaker was founded in the 1850s by Joseph Whitaker – an editor at the Gentleman’s Magazine and founder of The Bookseller. It was bought by British publishing company The Stationery Office (TSO) in 1997 which marked the end of the 130 years of its publication by the family company, J Whitaker & Sons Ltd. Five years later it was taken on by A&C Black, a subsidiary of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. It has been operating from Bloomsbury’s office in Bedford Square, central London, since 2011, following a restructure of the company. It became fully available as an online resource three years ago.

Interested parties should contact sarah.broadway@bloomsbury.com by 16th December.